Home Improvement: Get the Downton Abbey look in your Suffolk home


Interiors.....luxury - Credit: Archant

Fads and fashions come and go. But when it comes to interior design many of us aspire towards the grand and opulent. We just can’t imagine how to create such a look in our two up two down.


Interiors.....luxury - Credit: Archant

Here Ellen Widdup explores whether it is possible to give your house the feel of a stately home.

Everyone has imagined living in the lap of luxury with oak-paneled drawing rooms, opulent dinning areas and sweeping staircases.

But sadly, for the vast majority of us Downton Abbey is never going to be a reality unless we win the lottery.

Having said that, there is no reason why your humble home cannot be given a regal makeover.


Interiors.....luxury - Credit: Archant

A classic English manor house look can be achieved almost anywhere with the right imagination.

And, done right, it is a look that won’t fluctuate in and out of favour.

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Traditional building, classic look

Downtown Abbey ahs inspired interior designers

Downtown Abbey ahs inspired interior designers - Credit: Archant

Let’s start with the right canvas.

Here in East Anglia we are lucky to have a good range of beautiful houses on the market at any one time that boast oodles of history.

Very often these centuries-old homes have bags of kerb appeal but once inside someone, at some point has ripped out the period features.

Good intentions have laid waste to many a breathtaking staircase and astounding fireplace.


Interiors.....luxury - Credit: Archant

But don’t fear, although the originals might be long gone there is plenty you can do.

Clare Hindle, of Copeland Interiors, in Bury St Edmunds, is a specialist in classic interior design.

The firm, established in 1881, has been involved in giving some of the country’s grandest homes the wow-factor as well as giving more modern abodes a classic flavour.

She said: “If you want to follow the style and feel of a period house you should scour the antique dealers for both soft and wood furniture.”

If antiques are out of your price range or hard to come by consider looking at good-quality sofa manufactures do more traditional styles which look amazing with a classic style cloth on them. Get inspiration from the David Knight Collection.

“For classical wallpapers, companies like Cole and Son are perfect,” said Clare. “Little Greene also has great archives and produces many classic wallpapers that would suit drawing and dining rooms.

“For paints Zoffany are sure to have the right colour for your scheme.”

Make windows a focal point

These days we dress our windows down – maybe it is because we gather around televisions rather than actually gazing out at the world beyond our walls.

But in decades gone by dressing a window correctly was a perfect way to scream luxury.

So, making the most of your windows is a must.

Clare said: “Window design, depending on the period style of your home can vary from swags and tails, pelmets and valences which suit a large, tall window to a simple pair of curtains on an iron pole on a small window in a heavily beamed medieval cottage.

“A window design that works well can be the central point of any room.

“James Hare silks have an amazing range of rich silks as do Zoffany with their sumptuous new range of damasks – these are always perfect in a country home.”

Modern home, classic look

Sadly your 1970s-built semi, with its proximity to local amenities and great transport links is never going to prompt gasps from passersby like a country mansion might.

But if you crave plush and palatial there is still hope if you get the design right – just be careful.

If you rush headlong into creating something period it is easy to end up with something more akin to a goth’s bedroom.

Firstly, just because it looks old and has a rich colour does not make it desirable.

And remember, maybe this look is not right throughout the whole house.

A four-poster bed if you have the room, or a classic window design are subtle and safe ways to give your home a classic feel.

Clare said: “Mix old with new. For example classic furniture styles, like a wing chair, with modern fabrics can look absolutely stunning.

“And it can also work the other way - a modern sofa with traditional fabric cushions. William Morris designs work well used like this.

“For paint colours explore the Little Greene range. They have an affiliation with English heritage – take a look at ‘French grey’ a Victorian colour that’s never been more on trend than now.

“Another great way to achieve a classic look in a modern setting is to look out for traditional fabric houses re-visiting their archives but with a modern twist. Often they will produce classic designs with modern colours.

“Take a look at the Sanderson vintage collection for some fine examples.”

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